Ensuring we get all the vitamins and minerals we need can be difficult between our 9-5 jobs and caring for kids or pets.
Yet whenever we speak about vitamins, minerals and nutrients, we talk about vitamin C, D and Zinc. The ones we all know to talk about and know why. Like how we all know vitamin C gives us strong bones. And vitamin D can be created by sunlight.
The one mineral we all forget is Potassium. We don’t even know why it is essential. The only reason I know it exists is the one episode in Doctor who, where the ninth Doctor says ‘bananas are good, full of potassium.’
Today I break down what Potassium is, why we need it and where you can find it.
What is Potassium
Potassium is an essential mineral we all need to take. However, not many people know why we need to eat a healthy amount of it. Especially as they only the letter K on the periodic table!
Potassium is needed for our bodies as it helps remove extra sodium through the body from the urine. It helps reduce the harmful effects of sodium on our blood pressure as well.
The mineral is also known as an electrolyte that helps the nerves function and helps the heartbeat stay regular.
Many experts also state the mineral can help reduce the risk of kidney stones and lower bone loss as you age.
What food has high Potassium levels:
Many foods have Potassium in (the obvious being Banana’s.) Some other foods are:
- Dried fruits
- Orange juice, oranges
- Nuts like Cashews and Almonds
Foods with low levels of Potassium:
(which is recommended for people who have kidney disease or take blood pressure medication.)
How to get more of it in your diet
Whilst Potassium is a great nutrient to eat. You don’t want to overdo it. However, many of us fail to eat the recommended daily amount!
There are some easy ways to get more into your diet.
Eat more dried fruits.
As mentioned above, dried fruits can provide you with Potassium. My suggestion is to put a pack of your favourite dried fruit in a bag (when you go to work) and when you need a snack to eat the dried fruit.
If you’re at home, put a pack of dried fruit where you spend the most time and have it as a snack.
If you aren’t a fan of dried fruit, this could also be swapped out for eating cashews and almonds instead.
Embrace sweet potato chips
Now another big vegetable that provides Potassium is sweet potato. One of the easiest ways to add this to your diet and day-to-day meals would be to turn it into sweet potato fries. However, if you are like me, you detest sweet potato (particularly in fries form), the texture and taste aren’t right!
You could also turn it into mashed sweet potatoes.
So I guess we’ve both got to bite the bullet when it comes to this tip!
Add to Yoghurt
If you are a dried apricot fan, you’ll like this one. If you eat plain non-fat yoghurt, then get apricots (or any fruit you like), add it to the yoghurt, and eat it for lunch, a quick snack or dessert.
Add the green stuff to your sides at dinner.
Spinach and Broccoli have been states as having high levels of potassium. Add some of it to a sandwich or as a side salad when you have your dinner.
If you wanted a change, you could also have a baked potato as a side option instead of Spinach and Broccoli.
Start taking Potassium supplements. It is better to get Potassium from food as it’s naturally occurring and won’t be such a high intake of Potassium that it will badly affect your body. However, you don’t want to start taking supplements as it raises Potassium to a high level. Because too much Potassium can be dangerous, it is better to get your levels checked before and given the all-clear by a Doctor to start taking supplements.
If you have too much Potassium in your system, it can cause a lot of nasty side effects such as:
- Muscle cramps and weakness
- Low blood pressure
- Changes in heart rhythm
So make sure not to overdo how much Potassium you intake and only use potassium supplements if your Doctor has said it ( Yes, that is the second time I’ve said it, but I must make it clear to you.)
Overall I hope that you’ve learned about the mineral Potassium and how it helps the body and that you manage to get more of it in your diet with the help of these quick and straightforward tips.
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